HSA fire: Worst fire incident ever recorded involving hospitals

Sultanah aminah hospital, fireKUALA LUMPUR: The fire at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA), which claimed the lives of six people yesterday, was the first of its kind ever at the premises.

It was also perhaps the worst fire incident ever recorded involving hospitals in the country.

Based on information gathered from the Bernama Library and Infolink Service (BLIS), there were seven major fire incidents that took place in several hospitals in Malaysia since 1993.

These are the incidents:

May 30, 1993: Part of the second floor of the administration block at the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, located next to Kuala Lumpur General Hospital (now Kuala Lumpur Hospital), was destroyed in a fire at 2.30am. No one was reported killed.

July 8, 1993: A fire broke out at the Neurology Institute of the same hospital at 2am. Some 190 patients had to be evacuated. Total loss was recorded at about RM200,000.

Jan 16, 1995: Several construction items kept by a contractor under a staircase were destroyed in a fire that occurred at the third floor of Universiti Hospital (now University Malaya Medical Centre).

May 2, 2007: Power supply tripping in an elevator caused a small fire on the first floor of the Neurology Ward of the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL). Some 50 patients and visitors had to be evacuated.

July 30, 2011: A fire broke out at the Mental Patients Isolation Room of the HKL’s Emergency Department. It was caused by a mentally-ill patient who ignited a lighter. The incident occurred at 12.30am, causing the rapid spread of fire with thick smoke. One person was reported killed.

Feb 15, 2014: A block of a new building at the Sarawak General Hospital caught fire due to welding sparks from construction work in the hospital’s compound. No property damage was reported but a 35-year-old Indonesian construction worker was found dead with burn marks at the scene. Some 151 patients from six wards were relocated.

Aug 15, 2016: A small fire broke out at a storeroom of Hospital Sri Kota, Klang. No evacuation of patients or visitors was carried out. No deaths were reported.

According to HSA’s official website, the hospital is situated in Jalan Skudai about two kilometres away from Johor Bahru city centre. It was built in 1938 to replace the earliest hospital in the district, which was built in 1882.

On a 98.6 hectare site, HSA is located near the Straits of Tebrau, fronting the Republic of Singapore.

The five-storey hospital was designed by Palmer and Turner, an architecture firm. It has two T-shaped wings.

Now, the hospital offers 21 clinical services, nine clinical support services and five non-clinical support services. There are seven units under its management.

It has also become the coronary treatment centre for the southern region as well as Sabah and Sarawak.

As of 2010, the hospital offered 989 beds to the public to cater to the ever increasing patients in the state.